• 2023

  • Architectural
    Installation Design

Designed By:

Commissioned By:


Designed In:


Cadeau was the 2022 iteration of the annual public art and architecture pavilion program provided by the Powerhouse Architecture Commission. Curious Practice developed the timber pavilion in collaboration with Arup engineers and Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH).

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Image: Brett Boardman
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
Image: Clinton Weaver
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  • Curious Practice won the design competition for the annual Powerhouse Architecture Commission, responding to the theme "hybrid" to create a space for gathering and events. The Powerhouse described 'Cadeau' as "not a ‘stand-alone’ building or singular gesture. The design concept draws upon the idea of cross-pollination, which enables different genetic species to symbiotically exist and gain mutual benefit, improving their resistance to disease and changes in the environment. The architects responded to the ‘Hybrid’ commission brief with a modular, movable pavilion that can be enjoyed by either individuals or large groups."

  • We collaborated extensively with Arup engineers to resolve an elegant structural solution which didn't compromise the function or concept of the design. Made of American oak supplied by ASH, the timber members were machined in their factory to the required specifications and sizing before componentry was prefabricated off-site and assembled in-situ by the builder at the Powerhouse. This process was used to take advantages in technology and design planning as a means to reduce material wastage, on-site construction disruption, labour costs, weather delays and increase end-of-life reuse and recyclability opportunities.

  • Early on in the design process, an objective was developed to address what would become of the temporary structure once its display at the Powerhouse had ended. Curious Practice reached out to Newcastle community engagement initiative Out(fit) to donate the pavilion materials for recycled use in their construction projects which focus on spaces for women, children and underrepresented community groups.

  • French for gift, Cadeau takes its name from a sculpture by the surrealist Man Ray. Both the sculpture and the commission emerge from a desire to re-contextualise objects and places: giving something new to each. The pavilion’s form, materiality and arrangement recalls an uncanny familiarity to structures and spaces known or forgotten, promising to uncover latent use and memory/opportunity within the site and visitor. Cadeau takes domestic architectural elements and plays with their scale; exaggerating and fusing components to create new meanings and focusses. This process of distortion produces an ensemble of habitable, ready-made ‘furniture’ used to define the central courtyard gathering and meeting place. Designed to spark curiosity, the collection of individual pieces creates a verandah space that visitors are encouraged to explore and engage with. The installation also had the ability to adapt and change for specific events or future site conditions.